DOOM was the great-granddaddy of the modern FPS, with its legacy haunting every single game in the genre with fast, arcade-style action, a ridonculous arsenal at your disposal and hordes on hordes of science-augmented magic-assisted demons for you to carve your way into. It was also one of the most vaunted multiplayer games of its time, with tons of user-modded options and map packs, which gave the game the staying power it has until today. Bethesda seemed to be trying to maintain the franchise’s line, until they released their multiplayer gameplay trailer…
So let’s the elephant out of the room out of the way first: DOOM‘s multiplayer looks a heck of a lot like Halo, from the very first seconds of footage. We won’t put that down to the power armor, though. Power armors never did anything wrong. The game features quick, platform-jumping gameplay (like Halo), defensive builds like a shield and a two-weapon-max loadout that each player joining in chooses at the start of the game. We try not to gauge in our opinions too much when it comes to gaming, but if it weren’t for the power-up announcements and the demon rooms, this could have just been a Halo 5 re-skin.
Speaking of the announcer, Bethesda obviously wanted to do away with the good old Quake-guy voice, choosing a more banal and bland voice-over to announce power-ups and instances spawning, which takes a lot out of the insanely fast, so gorey it’s stupid kind of gameplay that gave the original its bombast.
On the subject of demon rooms, these seem to be randomly spawning instances containing a new and improved version of the classic Demon Strength Rune of the first two games. On the off chance you haven’t figure it out yet, the Rune switched your weapons to melee only and multiplied your damage by several increments, so you could reduce your opponents to a pile of gibblets with a couple of punches. The new feature, allowing you to turn into a Hell Baron or what seems to be like a new version of an Archville will probably be randomized and it adds a new dimension to the game, especially since players that frag you get to hop onto the hell-trip themselves. This was a particularly refreshing addition and we are hoping to see more of this in the final game (maybe a demon-team vs marine-team firefight, now that would be cool).
All things being equal, Bethesda have obviously decided they want to take the franchise’s multiplayer elements toward a new direction, specifically as close to Halo‘s vicinity as humanly possible. Why would they go with this? Perhaps the pressure of trying to keep up with DOOM‘s legacy was too much. Maybe they thought that the original gameplay was for granddads. Or maybe the entire thing was planned out by a marketing team that decided it would be best if a remake didn’t really need to include that many new ideas after all.
We’ll never know…